Manipur dominate
Mayor wants stadium in city
Mixed fortunes for Vinod Sewa
Lancs stand by Sourav Ganguly
Crucial ties today

Calcutta, Aug. 21: 
The ongoing second national sub-junior fencing meet is turning out to be a Manipur march.

After bagging four of the five team titles yesterday, they dominated proceedings at the SAI, Eastern Centre today.

They reached the finals of the two events where the finalists were identified today and the semi-finals of the other events.

T. Rajeshwar and H. Bachu reached the final to ensure the boys foil title will go to Manipur. Shakhenbi reached the girls epee final and will meet Aparna of Madhya Pradesh.

Two more from the north-eastern state, M.K. Johnjit and N. Nagamba, reached the boys sabre semi-finals along with G.H. Kiran (Karnataka) and Nishikant Imle (Maharashtra).

The boys epee semis also features two from Manipur � A. Agamba and A. Ratan.

In girls epee, Manipur�s Harina and W. Rozi made the last-four along with Poornima (Karnataka) and Arpana. Losing semi-finalists in all events will get bronze medals.

Bengal�s plight

Hosts Bengal, however, are having a disappointing outing. After collecting the boys team epee silver in Jaipur last year, the home team has managed just a bronze � in boys team foil.

And that is all they will finally manage as there is no Bengal representation in any of the five individual semi-final line-ups.

H.P. Ghosh, the secretary of the state association, said inadequate practice facilities and irregular schedules are major drawbacks. Bengal participants did undergo a 25-day camp before this meet but it was not enough.


Boys: Foil semis: T. Rajeshwar (Man) bt Kunal (Mah) 5-2; H. Bachu (Man) bt Sushil Kumar (UP) 5-1. Sabre quarters: M.K. Johnjit (Man) bt Ashish Sawant (Mah) 5-2; b G.H. Kiran (Kar) bt Kapil Dume (Guj) 5-0; N. Naghamba (Man) bt Vikas Das (Ben) 5-1; Nishikant Imle (Mah) bt Krishna Prasad (Kar) 5-3. Epee quarters:, Krishna (Kar) bt Parimal Das (Asm) 5-3; A. Agamba (Man) bt Dharmendra Singh (UP) 5-0; Kunal (Mah) bt Maninder Kumar (Bih) 5-3; A. Ratan (Man) bt Harbinder Singh (Pun) 5-4.

Girls: Epee semis: Shakhembi (Man) bt Preeti (UP) 5-2; Arpana (MP) bt Amrita Shukla (UP) 5-4. Foil quarters: Harina (Man) bt Gaganjit (Pun) 5-2; Arpana (MP) bt Sagini Kumari (Ker) 5-1; Poornima (Kar) bt Kirti (MP) 5-4; W. Rozi (Man) bt Preeti Bhagat (Mah) 5-2.

St James HS win

St James High School beat Khalsa Model High School 1-0 in the Pankaj Gupta Memorial hockey meet today. Alford Rutherford scored the goal.

Two matches did not take place and St Xavier�s and Presidency Muslim HS got walkovers from Kalyangarh Bidya Mandir and Rishra BKC, respectively.

FOOTBALL: CFL Super Division � Md. Sporting vs SAIL (Kishore Bharati); Tollygunge Agragami vs Salkia Friends (Rabindra Sarobar); BNR vs George Telegraph (East Bengal); Eastern Railway vs FCI (Mohun Bagan). Matches from 3.15 pm. 1st div. group B: Barisha SC vs Taltala DS (Bata) from 3 pm. 2nd div. championship play-off: Anushilani vs United Student (YMCA) from 2.45 pm. 3rd div. relegation play-off: Bani Niketan vs Uttarpara SC (BG Press); Garden Reach AC vs Suburban (High Court) from 3 pm.

FENCING: 2nd national sub-junior meet � final day�s events at SAI from 9 am.

CHESS: Ianuguration and first-round matches of All India Fide-rated meet at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra from 12 noon.

HOCKEY: BHA President�s Cup: Biswalakshmi Sports vs Behala Sports (2 pm); Kalyangarh HCC vs Khalsa HS (3.15). Pankaj Gupta memorial meet: La Martiniere vs Belgachia Manohar Academy (4.30).Matches at SAI.

YOGA: The 14th Bengal Cup � final day�s events at Rabindra Sadan from 4.30 pm.    

Calcutta, Aug. 21: 
Subrata Mukherjee, mayor of Calcutta, today expressed hope that the �race course would be moved out of the city precints and a proper soccer stadium be installed in the heart of the city instead.�

While officials of the Indian Football Association (IFA) gathered today to give away the annual awards for the last local soccer season, Mukherjee jumped at the opportunity to declare his wish. He said that he, as mayor of Calcutta, is �willing to give land on the periphery of the city� for the racecourse if it needs to be removed for a soccer stadium to come in instead.

Not a particularly new idea, this, one such from another quarter having been shot down long back. Ideas such as these have, of late, been relegated to the idle wish-zone.

The association also honoured Olympian footballer Sailen Manna. The 75-year-old Padmashree and India�s Footballer of the Millennium, was given a citation and gifts.

The Bengal under-16 team which won the Mir Iqbal Trophy was also felicitated and given gifts. That was Bengal�s only victory in any tournament last season. It was the Bengal team�s third consecutive victory.


IFA League Super Division: Champions � East Bengal (Rs 2 lakh); Runners-up: Mohun Bagan (Rs 1.5 lakh); FCI (Rs 40,000), Eastern Railway (Rs 30,000), BNR (Rs 25,000).

First division Group A: Champions � SAIL (Rs 25,000); Runners-up: Salkia Friends (Rs 20,000). Group B: Champions � Eastern Coalfields (Rs 17,000); Runners-up: Howrah Union (Rs 12,000). Second division: Champions � Ever-Ready (Rs 17,000); Runners-up: Calcutta Customs (Rs 12,000). Third division: Champions � Garalgacha (Rs 12,000); Runners-up: Tangra Football Assn (Rs 7,000). Fouth Division: Champions SAI (E. Zone) (Rs 12,000); Runners-up: Janbazar (Rs 7,000). Fifth division: Champions � Robert Hudson (Rs 10,000); Runners-up: Shyambazar Club (Rs 5,000). Nursery Division: Champion � Howrah Friends (Rs 6,000); Runners-up: Central Calcutta District Sp. Assn (Rs 4,000). Women�s league: Champions � Itika Memorial (Rs 6,000); Runners-up: Income Tax (Rs 4,000).

IFA team wins

The IFA senior team today won the Samsul Huda Gold Cup tournament in Jessore with a 3-0 victory over Muktijoddha Sansad of Dhaka in the final, according to reports reaching here.    

Calcutta, Aug. 21: 
Vinod Sewa of Chandigarh recently lost in the quarter finals of the USTA junior national grasscourt championship in Philadelphia, according to reports reaching here. Sewa won the Windsor Canadian Open last week, and in Philadelphia, he beat David Lynn (US), Marlo Santoso (Indonesia) and Mark Dietrich (US) in the first three rounds before losing 5-7, 2-6 to Lester Cook of the US in the quarters.

CSTC whip Karnataka

CSTC today whipped Karnataka 12-0 in the ASRTU football meet here. Bapi Mitra, Dipak Das scored four each, Biswajit Ghosal two and Gobinbda Karmakar and Jayanta Sen completed the tally.    

Calcutta, Aug. 21: 
A section of the print media in England may be gunning for Sourav Ganguly, but the India captain today received unequivocal support from the Lancashire County Cricket Club, his employers this summer.

�The Club has no problems with Sourav. In fact, we�re honoured the India captain is in our ranks,� insisted Dave Edmundson, Lancashire�s cricket secretary and spokesman on all cricket matters.

Sourav himself isn�t too upset by this savage assault (�sort of an Indian Geoffrey Boycott,� for instance) in print.

�I couldn�t be too bothered about things that have no roots in reality. Lancashire have three Championship matches to go and, should we win even two, the title will be ours. Therefore, I�m focussed on the up-coming games,� Sourav told The Telegraph from his Manchester residence, shortly before driving to Leicester for a most crucial Championship match beginning tomorrow.

The other games will be against Somerset and Surrey. Lancashire�s last title was way back in 1934.

Also contacted in Manchester, this morning, Edmundson added: �Of course, we�re disappointed Sourav hasn�t been in the form most of us would have liked (just two limited overs centuries so far) but, even here, Sourav himself is more disappointed than anybody else.

�All of us do, however, recognise every cricketer has ups and downs. Equally, that such phases are always temporary. Sourav remains a class player and the season isn�t over yet.�

But, what of the dressing room ambience?

�It�s wholly incorrect if some writers have suggested there�s a hassle with Sourav�s presence. That�s not so. If there�s a problem, of any kind, it�s that Lancashire haven�t done well in limited overs competition this summer.

�We didn�t go beyond the semi-finals in both the Benson & Hedges and the Natwest and, sadly, could be relegated to Division-II of the National League. However, we�re very well-placed for the Championship,� replied Edmundson.

Coach Bobby Simpson, too, echoed much the same thoughts.

�I�m amazed not one reporter has thought it necessary to at least get a quote from me on the performance/attitude of our overseas pro. One newspaper (The Daily Telegraph) wrote something nasty and, then, others (Sunday Times, namely) have jumped on the bandwagon.

�Often, there�s this tendency here for over-kill... I know what Sourav is capable of and I also know how he himself feels about not having got as many runs as he should have. But, to say he�s not trying, is grossly unfair,� remarked Simpson, speaking exclusively, just before starting on the Manchester-Leicester trip.

Simpson, who had a hand in Sourav�s recruitment (as Muttiah Muralidharan�s replacement), added: �Yes, even at the best of times Sourav can get a little laid-back, but it�s okay by me... Actually, the boys tease Sourav quite a bit �- Bengal Tiger and so on. Surely, they wouldn�t be doing so if he wasn�t welcome in the dressing room.�

For his part, Sourav acknowledged he batted with blue shoes � something which made The Daily Telegraph see red � during the Natwest semi-finals in Bristol (versus Gloucestershire), but had an explanation.

�I wanted to wear spikes and, that day, it was the only shoe with spikes on... In any case, the umpires didn�t find it objectionable. For the record, coloured gear is used in National League matches.�

Sourav, though, declined to say anything else.

�It would be proper only for somebody from the Club and/or the coach to respond... County cricket is very demanding, it�s been a tough experience... However, I also know my responsibilities.�

He didn�t say so in as many words, but Sourav indicated motivation could, at times, suffer. Well, it�s bound to: He has been playing non-stop from August 1999.

Significantly, Sourav will not return to Manchester next year. And, this has nothing to do with his showing this summer.

�In normal circumstances, we would have had Muralidharan this year as well. It didn�t work out largely because of Sri Lanka�s many Test commitments (against Pakistan and South Africa).

�Unless, Lanka�s Test-calender is as tight next summer, it�s understood by all concerned that he will return to Lancashire. We will look at options only if we know Muralidharan won�t be available,� informed Edmundson.

Incidentally, the India captain is quite cut up with a section of the print media at home as well.

�Reports that my wife and I are considering acting in a Bengal film should be treated as absolute rubbish. Both of us have better things to do. Indeed, at this stage, I have time only for cricket,� Sourav signed off.    

Calcutta, Aug. 21: 
Mohammedan Sporting and Tollygunge Agragami will have a lot to play for when first-leg action in the Super Division comes to an end tomorrow.

The former �third force� and the team aspiring to dethrone them both need to win to ensure a place in the Super Five which will also propel them into the main round of the IFA Shield.

East Bengal (25 points from 9 matches) and Mohun Bagan (23 from 9) have already booked the first two spots.

Mohammedan Sporting (12 from 8) will have to beat SAIL (out of reckoning for a Super Five slot) to advance to the championship round. But for Tollygunge, even a win may not be enough.

With a mere 10 points from eight matches, including four defeats, the National League campaigners have to beat Salkia Friends by a big margin as three more teams � George Telegraph, FCI and BNR � can pip them to a Super Five berth.

Salkia, with one point from eight outings, may not pose a serious threat but George (11 points), FCI (10) and BNR (10) can all come between Tollygunge and a Super Five slot.

If FCI beat Eastern Railway (9) and BNR overcome George, there will be three-way tie between them and Tollygunge and the two with a better goal-average will advance, assuming Mohammedan Sporting don�t drop a point.    


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